New book documents Iveco’s Australian history

By: Steve Skinner

A new book tells the interesting story of Iveco’s factory at Dandenong in Victoria.

New book documents Iveco’s Australian history
The 7800 series Powerstar with a Cummins engine and an Eaton 18-speed, launched in 2013 for triple road train work.


Everyone knows the Iveco Acco is a uniquely Australian truck – but it may surprise you to learn that so too is the Iveco Powerstar.

The Acco’s ancestry goes back to the 60s, and the Powerstar’s to the late 90s. But the Iveco factory at Dandenong in Victoria started off building the US-owned International brand of trucks in 1952.

Back then though – like the car industry later on – Australian truck manufacturing was heavily protected by a wall of tariffs.

These days of course there is no protection or government subsidy for Iveco (or the other manufacturers in Australia: Paccar and Volvo group).

Such insights are contained in a new book, Inter to Iveco – an Australian Truck Story, by the former chief engineer of the truck division of International Harvester Co of Australia, Colin McKenzie.

The current chapter in the Dandenong factory's long history came in 1992 when the giant European company Iveco took it over from the ashes of International Harvester Australia.

Iveco – which stands for Industrial Vehicles Corporation – grew out of Italian giant Fiat’s trucks division. It also builds buses, and its cousins under the CNH Industrial parent company now include Case and New Holland farming and construction equipment.

McKenzie says buying Dandenong was a good way for Iveco to enter the Australian market, but there were two major challenges.

One was that Iveco didn’t have its own bonneted model.

And the second was that neither Iveco nor International had a forward-set front axle cab-over to try and match Kenworth in the growing B-double market.

Two decades later and Iveco’s Dandenong facility manufactures the iconic Acco it inherited from International, as well as its own bonneted Powerstar and the cab-over Stralis capable of mixing it in the B-double market. It also builds two bus chassis.

The company says Australian-sourced content ranges from 55 per cent for the Stralis to 65 percent for the Powerstar and up to 85 per cent for the Acco.

One of the most interesting parts of the book goes back to 1998.

That’s when Iveco took the landmark decision to design its own replacement for the bonneted S line International, specifically for the Australian market.

This new truck was the Cummins, Caterpillar and Detroit-engined Powerstar, built on the S line chassis, combining "the Australian love affair with the American power train" with the European comfort of a narrow Iveco Eurotech cab, with a bonnet.

Iveco Cursor 10 and 13 litre engines and front axle options came later.

"The Powerstar continues to be the most significant product innovation of Iveco Australia, with chassis and cab being entirely assembled in the Dandenong plant," McKenzie says.

These days Powerstars use the cab-over Stralis cab. The Cursor-powered Stralis arrived in Australia in 2004, and in 2013 the Stralis won the truck of the year gong awarded by European truck journalists.

Meanwhile the 8x4 Stralis is designed especially for Australian front axle load-sharing requirements.

The predecessors of the Stralis were the Eurotech and Eurostar, and there are plenty of those still running around in this country.

The smaller Stralis models and the smaller sibling of the Stralis, the Eurocargo, are fully imported.

You can read the full story in the March edition of Owner//Driver.



You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook


Trucks For Hire | Forklifts For Hire | Cranes For Hire | Generators For Hire | Transportable Buildings For Hire